Northern Italy has always been high on our bucket list. This summer we were able to spend a couple of weeks traversing this historic and beautiful part of the world. The first 5 days of our trip involved using Milan as a home base and taking several day trips to other prime Northern Italy locations including Bergamo, Lake Como, and Cinque Terre. After the Lombardy Region, we continued our trip over to Venice (see 4 Days in Northeast Italy) for a total of 9 days in northern Italy.
Check out our 4-minute Northern Italy video!
5 Days in Northern Italy: Lombardy Region
Home Base- 2 Days in Milan
For Milan trip itinerary details read: How to Spend 2 Days in Milan.
A great home base for exploring the Lombardy region of Italy is Milan. It is the largest city in this area, and the airport is big enough so that we were able to get a direct flight from Atlanta to Milan. The train stations in Milan also have daily trains to all of our day trip destination, some departing and arriving every 30 minutes! You can hit the highlights of Milan in 2 days. Of course, you could spend several weeks in Milan and still not see it all.
Some must sees in a 2-day trip in Milan include:
- Castello Sforzesco
- Parco Sempione
- Duomo di Milano
- Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
- Santa Maria delle Grazie (The Last Supper)
- San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore
Day Trip #1- Bergamo
For Bergamo trip itinerary details read: How to Spend 1 Day in Bergamo.
Bergamo is one of those destination gems that doesn’t get much attention. One day is plenty to see the old, historic area. The historic area isn’t that big, but is jam-packed with amazing architecture. From Milan, there are trains that depart to Bergamo about every hour. Our train tickets ran €5.50 (one way per person). We took the 8:05 am train from Milan and arrived by 9 am.
Some of the must sees in Bergamo (all in the Upper Town) include:
- Piazza Vecchia
- Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
- Cattedrale di Bergamo
- Via Colleoni
- San Vigilo
Day Trip #2- Lake Como
For Lake Como trip itinerary details read: How to Spend 1 Day at Lake Como.
The northern lakes of Italy makes for another wonderful day trip from Milan. We chose Lake Como because it was close, there are frequent trains coming and going, and well, it’s the most famous! We took the 8:20 am train from the Milano Centrale station and arrived by 9:30 am. Our train tickets ran €6.70 (one way). Varenna is a good city to depart the train because you can take several ferries to other beautiful cities on Lake Como.
Visit the following cities on Lake Como:
Day Trip #3- Cinque Terre
For Cinque Terre trip itinerary details read: How to Spend 1 Day at Cinque Terre.
The 5 villages located in the area called Cinque Terre aren’t in the Lombardy region but in the nearby region of Liguria. When we first planned our Northern Italy trip, Cinque Terre wasn’t on the itinerary, instead we had planned 3 days in Milan. However our trip was in celebration of my brother and sister-in-laws 30th wedding anniversary, so when my brother told me that Robyn (my sister-in-law) really wanted to see the villages of Cinque Terre, we readjusted our travel plans. I’m so glad that we added Cinque Terre as a day trip!
Seeing Cinque Terre from Milan isn’t an easy day trip, but it was worth the long day of travel. Our train left Milan at 6:10 am and arrived at Monterosso (the most northern of the 5 villages) at 9:30 am. Train tickets (€28.90 each way per person) were more expensive for this day trip because of the length, and we bought first class seats. All of our other day trips tickets were economy seats.
Visit the following cities at Cinque Terre:
Have you been to Northern Italy before? We’d love for you to add your thoughts and recommendations. Have any questions? Please ask by commenting below! Keep up with all of our travel, camping, and cycling tips by following us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Leave us your email (blue box at the bottom of the post) to subscribe to our weekly newsletter and never miss a post!